May’s temperatures, lack of moisture set records
The month of May this year ended with the warmest temperature ever for the month, 91 degrees Fahrenheit, on the 31st, said Frank Doll, a weather watcher in Avon for the past quarter-century.
“Nothing else came close,” said Doll.
The next warmest recording was 88 on May 2000, he said.
But May this year also had the coldest temperature, 16 degrees, on May 9. That’s the lowest ever recorded in May, Doll said. May 2002 was the driest, too, with but 0.58 inches of moisture.
In a typical year, Doll said, Avon will receive up to 15 inches of moisture by the end of May. To date the total received is just over half of that – 8.16 inches.
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The May heat has caused the Eagle River to rise to what may be its highest flow of the year at Avon – 902 cubic-feet per-second, or cfs, Monday morning. That’s 45 percent of the mean annual flow of 1,970 cfs. Much of that came from Gore Creek because the Eagle’s flow at Minturn was 173 cfs Monday. The average mean annual flow there is 614 cfs.
The heat also has dried out the nearby national forest and Bureau of Land Management lands in the county, and the fire danger continues to be extreme.
More than 450 wildfires – the normal annual total – have already been logged statewide.